As children, my sister and I were always gathering and collecting interesting items and objects from the amazing world around us. During the summer months in particular, you could most often find us scouring the shoreline or the meadows near our cottage. We sought out delicate flowers for our dried floral arrangements and other crafting purposes. We were always on the lookout for the perfect addition to our shell or fossil collection. Even during my teen years, when my mind was perhaps on “other things”, I used to walk the woods and fields behind our home, searching for natural materials to decorate Christmas presents.
At the age of thirty four, I’m still adding pieces to my nature collection on a regular basis. (By the way Sis, I’ve got a molted snakeskin sitting in a box in the basement that I believe in yours! I have to admit, it’s a bit disgusting!) Birds nests, seedpods, sea shells, feathers, tree cones, driftwood, rocks- all of these items adorn the various shelves, table tops, nooks and crannies in our home.
The children are encouraged to assist in collecting, interacting, observing and playing with the family’s collection. These various objects often serve as the initial spark to lead us on a learning activity. Up until today, the wee ones have not had their own designated and special place to display their nature discoveries. Because of Muffy’s young age, nature treasures that were small or fragile often had to be kept out of reach when unsupervised. Last night I decided it was time to “trust” the boys to respect their delicate treasures and to refrain from ingesting them! I finally set up a family nature table with easy access for the wee ones. We chose a few spring themed items and will add to the display as we make new discoveries. Just this morning we planted some pots of grass seed as well as a few bean seeds to sprout. We added a few of our hand painted Easter eggs and some sprigs of spring pussy willows from the back yard.
It’s only been eight hours, but so far so good. Muffy has been very gentle and respectful of our seasonal table and has not attempted to eat anything! Some of you may be questioning my high degree of caution. Those of you who know Chi-Chi and Muffy personally are likely not! My little monkeys do have a certain fascination with projecting objects and climbing on any structure that will support their energetic little bodies. Our new nature table will be an interesting exercise on more than one level!